Lock, Shop and Re-Lock!

question manWhat if I were to tell you that I have a special mortgage program??

What if I were to tell you I have some of the best mortgage rates??

What if I were to tell you I have very competitive closing costs??

Yup…ordinary, just like all the other mortgage companies, banks, credit unions etc!  Pretty dull and boring when it comes right down to it.

Percent Down

Relock Today!

But what if I were tell you that you could lock your mortgage rate in at todays rate and if the rate drops during the process of your mortgage, you could re-lock to the lower rate.  And…It’s FREE!!  Yes, FREE!  No additional premiums, no inflated start rate and it’s offered on fixed rate mortgages.

Buying new construction or Building a new home?  These homes can typically take 3 to 6 months to complete.  In this volatile market of rates changing daily, you can lock in your mortgage rate for 180 days and if the rates drop, you can take advantage of the lower rates.  This allows you the security locking and peace of mind knowing you can still float your mortgage rate down.

But Wait!!!  There’s more!!!  What if you don’t have a signed offer on hand or have even identified a home?  How about if I told you that you could LOCK into a mortgage rate while you were shopping for homes.  This allows you focus on your new home and not have to worry about the markets and at what point rates will move.

This is for fixed rates mortgages up to $417,000.  Don’t be fooled by other lenders that offer these programs and then require you to use an Adjustable Rate or charge you a premium.    I have attached a flyer so that you can share this great program with your friends, clients, builders and whom ever may be in the market.

Click here for your own Float Down Flyer: Float Down

You must have applied for a mortgage through Bill Nickerson and PrimeLending.  You must meet Fannie Mae guidelines and be approved for a mortgage. This article is not a commitment to lend nor does it guarantee the program without first verifying credit, income and all financial documents.  Please call me at 978-273-3227 or wnickerson@primelending.com to see if you qualify for a mortgage today.

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Apply Online for a Mortgage

Hi, My name is Bill Nickerson and I am a Senior Loan Officer with PrimeLending in Concord MA.  I have been providing residential mortgages since 1991.

One of the steps in preparing yourself for home ownership is to obtain an approval from your lender or bank.  This process involves filling out a mortgage application and this can be done online, in person and even through the mail.

This process is done without identifying a property, we would use a range of purchase prices with your down payment to create payments that you are comfortable with.  It is important to understand that it is not what you are approved for, but what you are comfortable paying each month while carrying your traditional living expenses.  You will want to develop a long term plan, 5 to 10 years of what your goals will be with home ownership.  This will help you with budgeting and planning for the size of home you that will best suit your financial needs.

In addition to the application, we will be looking to verify your income, assets and debts through pay-stubs, bank statements and pulling your credit.  Once we have these items in hand, the approval process will take about an hour to confirm this information and provide you with an official approval letter. Here is a detailed list of the items needed for your approval, Documents Needed.

 I work with your real estate agent and real estate attorney to help coordinate your offer and the purchase of your new home.

To apply for a mortgage, you can click here Apply Online, once completed, I will receive an email alert and will begin the process immediately for you.

For more information on home ownership, to make an appointment for a consultation, feel free to call or email me anytime.

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Bill Nickerson NMLS #4194
PrimeLending
19 Main Street, Concord MA 01742
www.billnickerson.com
978-273-3227
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What affects your credit?

Did you know that a large portion of your mortgage approval and mortgage rate are based on your credit scores.  In today’s market, it is now more important than ever to pay attention to your credit scores as well as the balances you keep.fico

Credit scores were developed by Fair Isaac and Company (FICO). The models created using FICO take all the detailed information about your credit report and produce your credit score using different weights and factors contained in the FICO models. The purpose of a FICO score is to show how likely you are to become at least 90 days late in making payments in the next 24 months based on patterns in your credit history, compared with patterns of millions of past customers.

Fair Isaac divides the scoring range into five risk categories

  • 780-850 low risk
  • 740-780 Medium, Low Risk
  • 690-740 Medium Risk
  • 620-690 Medium High Risk
  • 620 and Below, High Risk or “Non-Prime”

Each of the three major credit bureaus uses their own version of the FICO scoring model.

Factors influencing your credit score are:

  • Current or Late payments
  • How late the payments are
  • Number of open accounts you have
  • How much credit you are using in relation to how much credit you have available
  • If there are serious delinquencies on your file like bankruptcy, liens and charge of accounts

Your credit score is a snap shot, in that it is developed at the time of inquiry by a credit grantor pulling your credit file.  Your credit score can change with the passage of time as well as the addition of new information to your credit file.  As delinquency information in your file ages, it’s negative on your credit score lessens.

Credit Scoring is a snapshot, in that it is developed at the time of inquiry by a credit grantor pulling your credit file. Your credit score can change with the passage of time as well as with the addition of new information to your credit file. As delinquency information in your file ages, it’s negative affect on your credit score lessens.

Credit Scoring uses the following five areas of information to calculate the score:

  • Payment history 35%
  • Amounts owed 30%
  • Length of credit history 15%
  • New credit inquires 10%
  • Type of credit used 10%

It is best to keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving accounts – maintain balances below 50% of the available credit limit. 24% is optimal. The best way to improve your score is to pay down revolving debt.

An inquiry is defines as a request by a lender for a copy of an applications credit report.  Inquiries on a credit report for two years, but credit scores only look at inquiries in the last 12 months.  Your own request for a credit report to review for accuracy is not considered in question manyour credit score.

Apply for new credit accounts only when you need them. Remember that closing accounts does not make them go away. A closed account with a poor payment history may become a more recent account because the date of activity will change.  An open account with a low or zero balance is better than a closed account.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Fico scores are used not only for a mortgage and credit cards, but for auto loans, insurance and utilities
  • Credit reports reflect charge offs or collection accounts for up to 7 years and bankruptcies for up to 10 years.
  • You can order a free credit report annually, at no charge, without impacting your credit score
  • Paying off an old collection may result in a drop in your credit score
  • Consolidating credit cards increases your ratio of debt to available credit and lowers your score.
  • Using the maximum amount on a credit line can drop your score by 100 points

For more information about how your Credit can affect your Mortgage Rate, feel free to email me at wnickerson@primelending.com or call me at 978-273-3227.  My Office is loacated at 19 Main Street, Concord MA, drop in anytime!

Bill Nickerson, NMLS# 4194

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3.5% down on FHA Rehab Loans

Have you ever wanted to buy a fixer upper?  Did you know FHA offers a few different types of rehabilitation loans?  The Streamline FHA is one of the most common Rehab Home 2loans available.  This allows you to add an additional $35,000 to your base mortgage to improve or upgrade your home prior to moving in. The same low down payment of 3.5% is required and a minimum Credit score of 640.  Gifts are available as well as seller credits, go here to learn more about that. Seller Concessions and Gifts.

The list below is a general outline of all the items you are able to repair, fix and even replace. 

  • Repair/replace roofs, gutters and downspouts
  • Repair/replace/upgrade of existing HVAC systems
  • Repair/replace/upgrade of plumbing and electrical systems
  • Repair/replace existing flooring
  • Minor remodeling, such as, kitchens, which does not involve structural repairs
  • Exterior and interior painting
  • Weatherization: including storm windows and doors, insulation, weather stripping, etc.
  • Purchase and installation of appliances. Appliances may include free-standing ranges, refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers and microwaves
  • Improvements for accessibility for person with disabilities
  • Lead based paint stabilization or abatement of lead based paint hazards
  • Repair/replace exterior decks, patios, porches
  • Basement refinishing and remodeling, which does not involve structural repairs
  • Basement waterproofing
  • Window and door replacements and exterior wall re-siding
  • Septic system and or well repair or replacement
  • 10% contingency reserve with a maximum of $2,500; 15% with no utilities on or foreclosed property

Rehab Home

The FHA 203K Rehab loan is a great way to get into a home that may need a little work or a full transformation.  For more information about Rehab Loans, call or email me anytime.

Email me at wnickerson@primelending.com or call me on cell:978-273-3227

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THE DON’TS: Home Buying Deal Killers

Buying a home is very exciting. However, nothing can be a bigger disappointment than finding out that your loan is denied before you are about to close your transaction!

Bill Nickerson
Bill Nickerson

 You’re a week away from having the keys to your new home and your loan officer calls to let you know that your loan was denied due to a change in your profile. This can and does happen often. But there are a few things that you can do to make sure that this won’t happen to you.

Keep the following points in mind while you are in the process of buying your home:

Don’t Apply for New Credit of Any Kind.  Don’t respond to any invitations to apply for new lines of credit and don’t establish new lines of credits for furniture, appliances, computers, department stores etc.  Even if there are no payments for 12 months, we will need to count this debt against you.  This will also have an adverse effect on your credit score.  Wait until your loan closes to purchase items for yourself and new home.

Don’t Max Out or Over Charge on Existing Credit Cards. Running up your credit cards is the fastest way to bring your score down.  Once you have engaged in the loan process, try to keep your credit card balances to below 30% of the available limit.

Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts. If you close a credit card account, it can negatively affect your ratio of debt to available credit.  If you really want to close an account, wait until after you close the loan.

Don’t Raise Red Flags to the Underwriter. Don’t change your name and address and don’t co-sign on another person’s loan. The less activity that occurs while your loan is in process; the better it is for you.

Don’t Make Large Unexplainable Deposits Into Bank Accounts. Deposit amounts into your bank accounts that do not match your past history will be questioned by an underwriter unless the deposit is documented as a gift or can be explained.  This includes cash deposits and moving funds from one account to another.

Don’t Make Changes to Your Employment/Income. Employment stability is a huge factor in the underwriting loan process.  Quitting or changing jobs or even moving positions within the same company can greatly endanger your loan approval.  Inform your loan officer immediately of any changes to your job, position or income.

Your Down Payment:  Do you have your down payment all set? Is it in one account?  Have this prepared before you purchase your home.  Whether it is gift funds, liquidation of your retirement or moving funds from one account to another.  By having these funds all in one account, it will simplify the process.  If you receive a Gift, let’s say for $1,000 from family, Don’t deposit $900 or $1100, as this will be hard to explain why the amount is different from the Gift amount.

Bottom Line: Don’t Make Any Adjustments/Transfers in Your Asset Picture. Talk to your Loan Officer first.  Don’t make any changes in investments, move positions, close accounts, open new accounts, or substantially alter your asset picture.

Send me an email or call with any questions you may you have.  Cell phone is 978-273-3227 and email me at wnickerson@primelending.com.

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Can I give you a Piggy Back?

Whether you call them Piggy Back Loans, Blended Mortgages, A first and second, 80-10-10, these loans are extremely helpful in avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

Piggy Back

The Piggy Back

When you have less than 20% to put down on a home, you are charged Private Mortgage Insurance, this added cost is based on the actual down payment as well as your credit score and in some cases can be in the hundreds of dollars per month.   Several years ago, many banks, lenders and mortgage companies created a program that would allow having a first and second mortgage to avoid the high cost of mortgage insurance.  At the end of the Housing Bubble, many banks, lenders and mortgage companies went out of business, these second mortgage and lines of credit nearly disappeared.  They were still available, they were just really hard to find.

Based on your purchase price, you would take out a first mortgage in the amount of 80% of the price and a second loan in the amount of 10%.  You would still be borrowing 90% of the purchase price (10% down payment).  In doing so, you have lowered the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of a first position mortgage to under 80%, thereby eliminating the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Example: Here is a comparison of using the Piggy Back Mortgage versus a mortgage with PMI.  This is based on a purchase price of $400,000 with 10% down on a single family home and assuming a credit score of 740 or greater.

Without the Piggy-Back:  You would have a first mortgage of $360,000, using a mortgage rate of 4.5% on a 30 year fixed.  This would give you a mortgage payment with PMI in the amount of $1,980.07.  $156 of this payment would be PMI.  PMI payments do vary based on the actual down payment as well as the credit score of the borrower, but this will give you a good idea of what the payment would be.

With a Piggy-Back loan using the same purchase price.  In this example you would have a first mortgage in the amount of 80% of the purchase price, $320,000 and a second mortgage in the amount of $40,000.  The second mortgage can also be a line of credit and in both cases the second mortgage rates is typically higher.  Using a rate of 6.00% for the second, this gives you a total mortgage payment of $1,861.21.  This is a total savings of $118.86 per month.  This is a conservative estimate.

Word of caution, the savings can be in the hundreds, most of these piggy-backs are in the form of a Line of Credit (home equity line of credit) and are adjustable rate products.  Even though the rates are still at all-time lows, these lines of credit will only go up in rate in the future and could become more costly than the having the mortgage insurance.  When obtaining a piggy-back mortgage, you really need to have a strong financial plan of how you can pay off the second loan sooner rather than later in order to take full advantage of the savings.

For more information in regards to Piggy Back mortgages and other programs that eliminate mortgage insurance, feel free to call or email me anytime.

Bill Nickerson -NMLS #4194  978-273-3227 cell

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How an Adjustable Rate Mortgage Works

An Adjustable Rate Mortgage is a mortgage loan with the interest rate on the note periodically adjusted based on an index which reflects the cost to the lender of borrowing on the credit markets.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM’s) come in many different varieties.  The most common ARM’s are the following:  One Year, Three Year, Five Year, Seven Year and a Ten Year.  You will also see them displayed in this format as well: 1/1, 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1.  The first number represents the amount of years the loan will be fixed for and will not change from its original start rate.  The higher the first number or term, the higher the interest rate will be.

The second number represents how often the ARM will adjust after the fixed rate term ends.  Using a 5/1 ARM as the example, when your fixed term is about to expire. The Lender will send you a notice via mail notifying that your rate is about to adjust and what that adjustment will be.  This will occur 45 days prior to this expiration date, in this case that would be 60 months of this loan (5 Years). The new rate will be set for one year, or the term that is stated in the second number, 5/1.

The adjustments are based on 2 variables, the index and the margin.  The margin is set on the day you get the mortgage and is usually in the range of 2.25 or 2.75 depending upon the type of ARM you go with.  This will never change and is set for the life of the loan.  We would then add the current Index to this margin and combined that would create your new rate.

The Index can come from many places but is selected when we lock in your loan.  Typically we use the One Year Treasury Bill or the One Year LIBOR.  Both indexes move fairly slow and steady.  These Indexes are always posted in the Wall Street Journal but is very easy just to Google these terms. This will show you the current rate as well as show the history of these rates. You can also click this site at the US Treasury

Today’s one year treasury is at .13, this is the index.  Add this to the 2.5, the margin and your new rate today would be 2.63. This rate would be rounded up to the next highest 1/8th and this would give us 2.750% for one year.

Caps: Your loan comes with caps of 5/2/5, each number represents how your loan will adjust.  The first adjustment the loan can adjust 5% up or down from the original start rate, the second number “2” is what it can adjust each time for the remaining years of the loan.  So, the second adjustment and everyone after that the rate can move up or down a maximum of 2%.  The last number is the Life Cap.  The rate will never go higher than 5% of the starting rate.  So if you lock in a rate of 3.25% today, your rate would never exceed 8.25%.  To give you an idea, since 1996, this rate has not exceeded 8.25% at its high point. In the last several years, this rate as adjusted downward and as low as 2.00% in many cases.

I hope this is helpful and always feel free to ask questions about any of this information. Feel free to email me at Bill@billnickerson.com or call 978-273-3227.

Thank you very much,

Bill Nickerson NMLS# 4194

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The Good Faith Estimate

gfeA good faith estimate (GFE) must be provided by a mortgage lender or broker in the United States to a customer.  The estimate must include an itemized list of fees and costs associated with the loan and must be provided within three business days of applying for a loan.  These mortgage fees, closing costs and pre-paid items cover every expense associated with a home loan from legal fees, recording fees, title insurance, taxes and other charges.  A good faith estimate is a standard form which is intended to be used to compare different offers (or quotes) from different lenders or brokers.

The good faith estimate is only an estimate. The final closing costs may be different; however the difference can only be 10% of the third party fees.  Once a good faith estimate is issued the lender/broker cannot change the fees in the origination box.

It is important to look at everything that is listed, but it is especially important to see if additional costs are being built in such as Points, Broker Fees or high Administrative fees.  In all, a consumer should look at the bottom line number of the cost;  one, to make sure it is affordable to them and two, to be sure the costs are accurate and not over inflated in any way.  Click for more details about closing costs.

For more information about the good faith estimates or if you have questions regarding other home financing, please email me at bill@billnickerson.com or call me at 978-273-3227

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Home Buying Checklist

shopping for a houseHave you ever been out looking at houses to buy and found that after about the 5th or 6th house, they all start to blend together?  You can’t remember the individual features of each house…what you liked and didn’t like about each of them.  Looking at houses can be a fun but a daunting experience.  One can get easily tired and overwhelmed.  To help with your house hunting process, please take a look at my home buying checklist.  Print some copies to take with you when house shopping.  I’m sure you will find it a helpful tool!

Bill’s Homebuying Checklist

Print off as many as you would like!!

For questions regarding home financing or the economy, please email me at bill@billnickerson.com  or call me at 978-273-3227

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How to Shop for a Mortgage

After hitting record lows of 3.250% last year, mortgage rates have inched up a little and in the grand scheme of things…it is only a little!  The trend of course is upwards and like the stock market, it is not a straight line up, we have good days and bad days in the markets and Mortgage Rates can sometimes and do change a few times inside a trading day. These rate changes are influenced by the global economy and while rates are still extremely low, refinancers and homebuyers are always looking for the lowest. Rates trade in real-time and react to each little development. But these lows come and go in minutes during specific trading intervals each trading day. And this kind of volatility drastically changes the way consumers should shop for a mortgage.  Because markets move up and down so fast right now, the rates you see in mainstream media* headlines are long gone by the time you can do anything about it.

SO HERE’S HOW TO SHOP FOR A MORTGAGE IN THIS NEW WORLD.

Shop For Loan Agents, Not Rates

Every consumer shops for mortgages and they should. But this is the critical distinction: you should be shopping for the best mortgage advisor. If you have that, you’ll get the best rate.

Here’s what happens when shoppers focused only on rate get quoted by a good loan agent: Loan agent quotes a rate only after they’ve analyzed the client’s entire financial profile and analyzed their home’s value and condition—also known as pre-approving them. The client will either tire of the pre-approval analytics or be unhappy with the rate and go somewhere else. Then 80% of those cases come back to that loan agent because the competing rate quote was revealed to be incorrect when the other lender actually completed the client’s profile, or the home’s value/condition made the loan ineligible.

Mortgages are extremely competitive so rates and fees are generally the same with most (established, credible) lending firms.  What’s not the same lender to lender is the loan agent’s ability to: (1) advise properly, (2) analyze borrower and property profiles, and (3) close with no surprises. So shop to find the lender and loan agent you feel most confident can perform on these three things. Then work with that loan agent to pick a rate target you can’t or won’t go above, and give them a standing order to lock when they see it.

These guidelines are for refinancers. For homebuyers, you can’t lock a rate until you’re in contract to buy a home, but once you’re in contract, the same approach applies.

Rate Targeting

Their are two reasons for the pre-approval and rate targeting tactics discussed above:

(1) A rate quote that flies through the air means nothing. If a loan agent doesn’t issue you written terms after obtaining a full profile on you and your home, then you haven’t received a quote you can count on.

(2) Rate lows are here and gone in minutes each trading day as mortgage bonds rise and fall on economic and technical trading signals. So if you don’t first get pre-approved then set a rate target with a standing lock order, it’s nearly impossible to hit the lows AND close with no surprises.  Your loan agent also must be able to brief you daily or weekly on the market outlook, so if you’re not sensing market competence from your agent, then keep shopping. A loan agent must have a strong read on what’s impacting the rate market ups and downs to deliver you the best terms.

*Mainstream media is almost always off the mark on rate data and commentary. Conversely, Mortgage News Daily strives to provide accurate and realistic rate data and commentary daily. Still, the premise of this piece is to explain what a mortgage consumer must do to manage extreme rate volatility.

Do you have any questions?  Feel free to call or email anytime!!

Bill Nickerson can be reached at 978-273-3227 and email at bill@billnickerson.com

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